Friday, September 9, 2016

Blog Tour: Roald Dahl 100 Year Celebration {Excerpt + Giveaway}

This year Penguin Young Readers and the Roald Dahl Literary Estate are celebrating 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl —the world’s number one storyteller. 

In just under a week, our beloved Roald Dahl is going to be 100! Needless to say, you should be excited. If you're anything like me, your childhood is filled with warm memories of curling up with Roald's books, and those books still give you warm fuzzies when you see a child picking them up. (I definitely extended our selection of his books in my store--never enough!)

And now, Penguin is celebrating in a big way. They've got this huge blog tour that you're (obviously) enjoying, plus they're releasing gorgeous redesigned copies of some of Dahl's most beloved books--lots in paperback, and a select few in collectible hardcovers. (Seriously, they're gorgeous. I just shelved the hardcovers yesterday, and may have petted a few before putting them on the shelf.)

The book I get to share is a lesser-known one, at least for me, but it's just a fun and memorable as all of your favorites from Roald: The Giraffe, the Pelly and Me. Read a little about it and the excerpt, and you'll know why.

About the book:

Billy's biggest wish is to turn a weird old wooden house into a wonderful sweet-shop. But then he finds a giraffe, a pelly and a monkey living inside - they're the Ladderless Window-Cleaning Company! Who needs ladders when you've got a giraffe? They become best friends and when they meet the richest man in all of England, there's a chance that Billy's scrumptious-galumptious dream just might come true . . .

Not far from where I live there is a queer old empty wooden house standing all by itself on the side of the road. I long to explore inside it but the door is always locked, and when I peer through a window all I can see is darkness and dust. I know the ground floor used once to be a shop because I can still read the faded letting across the front which says THE GRUBBER. My mother has told me that in our part of the country in the olden days a grubber was another name for a sweet-shop, and now every time I look at it I think to myself what a lovely old sweet-shop it must have been.

On the shop-window itself somebody has painted in white the words FOR SAIL.

One morning, I noticed that FOR SAIL had been scraped off the shop-window and in its place somebody had painted SOLED. I stood there staring at the new writing and wishing like mad that it had been me who had bought it because then I would have been able to make it into a grubber all over again. I have always long and longed to own a sweet-shop. The sweet-shop of my dreams would be loaded from top to bottom with Sherbet Suckers and Caramel Fudge and Russian Toffee and Sugar Snorters and Butter Gumballs and thousands and thousands of other glorious things like that. Oh boy, what I couldn't have done with that old Grubber shop if it had been mine!

On my next visit to The Grubber, I was standing across the road gazing at the wonderful old building when suddenly an enormous bathtub came sailing out through one of the second-floor windows and crashed right on to the middle of the road!

A few moments later, a white porcelain lavatory pan with the wooden seat still on it came flying out of the same window and landed with a wonderful splintering crash just beside the bathtub. This was followed by a kitchen sink and an empty canary-cage and a four-poster bed and two hot-water bottles and a rocking horse and a sewing-machine and goodness knows what else besides.

It looked as though some madman was ripping out the whole of the inside of the house, because now pieces of staircase and bits of the banisters and a whole lot of old floorboards came whistling through the windows.

Then there was silence. I waited and waited but not another sound came from within the building. I crossed the road and stood right under the windows and called out, "Is anybody at home?"

There was no answer.

In the end it began to get dark so I had to turn away and start walking home. But you can bet your life nothing was going to stop me from hurrying back there again tomorrow morning to see what the next surprise was going to be.

Copyright © Roald Dahl, reprinted with permission from Puffin Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House

About Roald Dahl:

Roald Dahl (1916-1990) was born in Wales of Norwegian parents. In 1951, Roald Dahl met his future wife, the American actress Patricia Neal, who starred in films including The Day the Earth Stood Still, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and Hud, for which she won an Oscar. After establishing himself as a writer for adults, Roald Dahl began writing children's stories in 1960 and wrote two of his best-known novels, James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in the U.S.

In September 1964, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was published initially in the U.S. with the U.K. following a few years later. It would go on to become one of the most famous and best-known of Roald's stories. The idea for the story grew out of his own well-documented love of chocolate and his school-day memories of acting as a taster for a famous chocolate factory. These first stories were written as entertainment for his own children, to whom many of his books are dedicated.

Today, Roald Dahl’s stories are available in 58 languages and have sold more than 200 million books. With more than 40 million Roald Dahl books in print in the U.S. alone, Dahl is considered one of the most beloved storytellers of our time and his popularity continues to increase as his fantastic novels, including James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, The BFG, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, delight an ever-growing legion of fans. 
Find Roald online: Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest | YouTube

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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Blog Tour: The Ones by Daniel Sweren-Becker {Character Profile + Giveaway}

I'm so excited to have the blog tour for Daniel Sweren-Becker's The Ones stop by today! I've been excited for this one for months--and it's out today! I know what I've got to share with you will whet your appetite, so you should absolutely head and out get yourself a copy ASAP. But, I've also got a giveaway for my friends in the US, so stick around and enjoy! :)

About The Ones:

Cody has always been proud of being a One. She and her boyfriend James were two of the lucky babies from the 1% of the U.S. population that were randomly selected to benefit from genetic engineering. Now, she and the rest of The Ones are excelling. They are healthy, beautiful, and talented. They aren't otherworldly, just perfect. And to some, that's not fair. The Equality Movement, capitalizing on the growing fear and jealousy, gains political traction and actually outlaws their existence. Society shows its darker side as The Ones are marginalized. The line between right and wrong blurs in the face of injustice and Cody becomes closer to a group of radical Ones intent on fighting back. James begins to fear just how far she is willing to go for the cause.
Add to your to-read shelf: Goodreads

Character Profile, Cody:

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About the author:

Daniel Sweren-Becker is an author, television writer and playwright living in Los Angeles. He has written for ABC, USA, MTV and Nickelodeon, and his play Stress Positions premiered in New York at the SoHo Playhouse. He grew up in Manhattan, before attending Wesleyan University and NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Nowadays he tries to get to the beach as often as possible, hopes to sample every ice cream sandwich in LA, and teaches creative writing at 826LA's community center. The Ones is his debut novel.
Find Daniel online: Twitter | Instagram

Follow the tour:

August 30: Fiction Fare (Author Interview)
August 31: ReadWriteLove28 (Character Profile - Kai)
September 1: Take Me Away to a Great Read (Mood Board)
September 2: Swoony Boys Podcast (Fan Cast)
September 3: Book Briefs (Character Profile - James)
September 4: Lili's Reflections (Guest Post: Equality Movement)
September 5: That Artsy Reader Girl (Character Profile - Taryn)
September 6: Paper Cuts (Character Profile - Cody)
September 7: It Starts at Midnight (Playlist)

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Stacking the Shelves {157}

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we get to share the books we've bought, been gifted, or received for review!

It's been so long, y'all! Hi! I looked at my last STS, and I had just been picked for my jury! That's kind of crazy, since that took two entire weeks (and I loved every minute of it--except the reading of the verdict), and then we had the Harry Potter midnight release (SO fun!). And NOW I'm starting grad school. I told y'all I got into both, and I decided to go to Indiana University. I'm studying Library and Information Science online! I don't know what that'll mean for blogging, but I'm obviously hoping to continue--it just may be more sporadic. I'm curious to see how working full time, going to school part time, and blogging will be!

ANYWAY, on to the books! There's quite a few!

For review:

Yesternight by Cat Winters
The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee

A Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLean
Do You Want to Start a Scandal? by Tessa Dare
The Littlest Bigfoot by Jennifer Weiner

Wait for Me by Caroline Leech
The Freemason's Daughter by Shelley Sackier

The Danger of Desire by Sabrina Jeffries
Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas

Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson


Rebel Magisters by Shanna Swendson


Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta
The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron

Books I read this week:
Rebel Magisters by Shanna Swendson

I'm currently reading:
Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas

This is... however many weeks' worth since my last STS. I don't even know anymore. :)

Have a lovely Sunday and a fabulous week!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Blog Tour: This Earl is On Fire by Vivienne Lorrett {Review + Excerpt + Giveaway}

Release date: August 2, 2016
Author info: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Format: Egalley
Source: Publisher provided for review
Buy the book:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo | Google Play
The sheltered daughter of a country baron, Miss Adeline Pimm comes to London looking for adventure… and finds it in the form of a bloody, unconscious man slumped in the doorway of her family's rented townhouse. Though his identity is a mystery, Adeline is inexplicably drawn to the handsome, injured man and vows to nurse him back to health. 

Liam Cavanaugh, the scandalous Earl of Wolford, is startled when he awakens in an unfamiliar bed, wrapped in bandages that hinder his eyesight, with no memory of why he was beaten half to death. Although he can't see the witty young woman who tends to his wounds, her alluring voice--and a single stolen kiss from her soft lips--help soothe his pain. But when he is fully healed, Liam is not ready to let go of the one woman who stirs his deepest longings. 

Liam will do whatever it takes to see Adeline again, even if it means giving up his rakish ways. But his disreputable past is not so easily forgotten and his secrets are far more dangerous than he-or Adeline-ever imagined. 
I loved The Debutante Is Mine, so of course I had to snatch up a copy of This Earl Is on Fire as soon as I possibly could! And I wasn't disappointed, just like the previous book, This Earl Is on Fire is sweet, fun, and pretty much just a delight.

This Earl Is on Fire starts off with a bang, with Adeline and her parents finding Liam on their doorstep, bloody and bruised. It sets off her relationship with Liam, which I loved, because I don't feel like too many historical romances work quite so heavily on the idea of love at first sight. There's something to be said for an instant connection you simply can't deny, and that's what Adeline and Liam feel. It's through their time together that they come to love one another, but it's all kicked off by that instant spark.

Like the first book, I felt like a lot of the ending was rushed. There's some definite groundwork for the villain who pops up, but it still feels like he comes out of nowhere, rubs his hands together in a dastardly way, and then disappears, not quite without damage, but close to it.

But (maybe partially because that ending section is so small) I was more than won over by our familiar characters and our new addition in Adeline. Adeline is unexperienced, yes, but she's also determined and realistic. She doesn't think she'll find happiness in a marriage, so she's set on never marrying. She only wants to go to London to show she's perfectly capable of taking care of herself and then she's content to go home and live as she will, without a husband. I'm all for a girl set on independence, and I love that her relationship with Liam never takes that away. That determination shows in that she's willing to give up happiness to have her freedom, not to be coddled and babied as she has been, and it's completely winning.

The Season's Original series is such fun, and with how quick they are, you'll fly through them, ready to read the next!

About the author:

USA Today bestselling author, VIVIENNE LORRET loves romance novels, her pink laptop, her husband, and her two sons (not necessarily in that order … but there are days). Transforming copious amounts of tea into words, she is an Avon Impulse author of works including: Tempting Mr. Weatherstone, The Wallflower Wedding Series, The Rakes of Fallow Hall Series, The Duke’s Christmas Wish, and the Season’s Original Series.

            “Your swelling has diminished completely,” she said, feeling a strange fluttering in the pit of her stomach. Then she gripped the key tightly as if it were her life’s purpose. “Your flesh is somewhat bruised, however, and purplish in places. When you arrived, we weren’t even able to see that you had eyes.”

“And now that you are able?” There was an edge of mockery to his tone and—yes—to his lips too. Now there were appealing fissures on both sides of his mouth.
“Are you seeking a compliment? I had not taken you for a vain peacock,” she chided, feeling comfortable enough to tease him in return. Yet, that quickly altered when he reached up and closed his hand over hers.
He tugged her closer. “Your expression reveals little. And there are no mirrors nearby to show me whether I am merely bruised or disfigured. That pretty blush upon your cheeks could be because you are here in your nightdress and shy about it, not necessarily because you think I am handsome.”
Were all the gentlemen in London this bold? She held her breath, trying not to move and wanting to absorb every sensation caused by her hand in his grasp. Her skin rejoiced, sending shivers of warmth through her like sparks from flint and steel. His thumb swept back and forth over the mound of her thumb. Then his fingers curled casually as if touches such as these were commonplace. At least, for him...
           “I like the look of you,” she confessed, holding his gaze. A man who’d suffered such a beating deserved that, at least.

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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Blog Tour: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco {Review + Playlist}

Hey hey hey! I'm so excited to be hosting a stop on the Stalking Jack the Ripper blog tour, hosted by the Knights of Whitechapel, the book's street team! As I've just finished reading and am completely pumped, I'll be sharing my review and a playlist that I think only makes your reading experience better. :)

Release date: September 20, 2016
Author info: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Tumblr | Pinterest
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Pages: 336
Format: Egalley
Source: Publisher provided for review
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository | Indiebound
Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father's wishes and society's expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle's laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story's shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.
I have an unhealthy fascination with Jack the Ripper... It might be more than unhealthy, really--but I've written a long research paper on him and gobble up info kind of constantly. (To the point where I have dreamed about it more than once. Freaky dreams, y'all.) Needless to say, anytime a book is centered around Jack the Ripper, I'm there, with bells on. Of course, a deep interest in Jack the Ripper isn't going to make a book. And excitingly, Stalking Jack the Ripper may have gotten me to read with its subject, but it won me over with its dark tone and fierce heroine.

As I said, THE TONE. I've seen mentions of Gothics in a lot of talk around SJTR, and that's a good comparison. SJTR has that wonderfully (at least in my book!) ominous tone, where you know something bad is coming without fully knowing what it is, you're constantly switching opinions as to who the bad guy is, and there's even a little bit of the supernatural coming into play. There's just the right balance of darkness, with bits and pieces of humor and lightness from Audrey Rose's interactions with Thomas, making for a really engrossing read.

And Audrey Rose! I just love her! She's feisty and brave, and both her loyalty and her drive are so admirable. What's so great is that she's constantly challenging conventions of her time--but Maniscalco never makes her overtly so, to the point that she'd be too much for the people of her time. That's not to say her thoughts aren't definitely too much for her time, but she's only looking for a bit of freedom at the moment, and it reads a lot more authentically than a lot of other books.

I have a feeling I could talk about this book for altogether too long, but I'll calm myself down. (I could literally dedicate paragraphs to how much and what I love about Thomas, so be glad you're being spared!)

If you love a gritty, historical mystery that's scary without being too much so, Stalking Jack the Ripper is a sure bet for you.

About the author:

Kerri Maniscalco grew up in a semi-haunted house outside NYC where her fascination with gothic settings began. In her spare time she reads everything she can get her hands on, cooks all kinds of food with her family and friends, and drinks entirely too much tea while discussing life’s finer points with her cats.

Her debut, STALKING JACK THE RIPPER (JIMMY Patterson Books/Little, Brown September 20,  2016), is a Young Adult Gothic horror inspired by the Ripper murders. It’s about a Victorian-era lord’s daughter who defies society expectations by secretly apprenticing as a forensics examiner, and soon finds herself embroiled in the investigation of a serial killer who is stalking London’s East End.

And here's my playlist! I'm always trying, when I make these, to accentuate the tone of the book or the overall themes. In this case, the tone did most of the work itself, but this is music I thought fit that foreboding, creepy kind of feel. (Plus it's just awesome music.)

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Review: The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles #2) by Mary E. Pearson

Release date: July 7, 2015
Author info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Pages: 470
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher provided for review
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save Lia's life, her erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komizar that she has the gift, and the Komizar's interest in Lia is greater than anyone could have foreseen.

Meanwhile, nothing is straightforward: There's Rafe, who lied to Lia but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom Lia always believed to be savages. Now that she lives among them, however, she realizes that may be far from the truth. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her sense of self, Lia must make powerful choices that will affect her country... and her own destiny.
Goodness, why did I wait a year from when I got this to read it? What's wrong with me? I do this all the time, y'all, and I still never learn. On the bright side, I waited till I had a copy of The Beauty of Darkness, so I can read anytime, instead of waiting--though I'm deeply nervous to finish this series!

Weirdly, I did try to read this one prior to its release, but it couldn't hold me. I always knew I'd come back to it, but I had a lot of trepidation starting again, afraid I'd still not be able to get through it. Not the case! From the beginning, I didn't remember much of my original attempt, but I was so absorbed in the story. It's so fun to watch Rafe and Lia, especially, as they navigated the Komizar and Venda, and get their way out of tough scrapes.

And I loved seeing Venda. As you could expect, actually being in the supposedly savage country proves that it's not quite the irredeemable, terrible place it sounded in The Kiss of Deception. Lia quickly comes not only to appreciate its people and culture, but to love them. She feels a deep connection to their history, and they welcome her with open arms--a reception she's not seen from her own country.

What's the best, though, is that Lia really comes to fight for herself. She starts still a little reliant on Rafe and his plan to get out, but soon she realize that things are only going to happen if she makes them happen. So, she quickly becomes a master manipulator--and wins the people of Venda over. She proves herself adaptable and intelligent.

Needless to say, The Heart of Betrayal is a worthy sequel. The stakes set up in The Kiss of Deception are raised, and it only makes me more excited for The Beauty of Darkness!

About the author:

Mary E. Pearson is the award-winning author of The Jenna Fox Chronicles, The Miles Between, A Room on Lorelei, and Scribbler of Dreams.  She writes full-time from her home office in California where she lives with her husband and two golden retrievers.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Stacking the Shelves {156}

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we get to share the books we've bought, been gifted, or received for review!

Hellooo! Exciting news this week! Remember how I was applying to grad school? Well I was accepted to one! I only applied to two, so halfway there! The other is the one I really want to go to, but it's always nice for that validation, eh? :)

For review:

Do You Want to Start a Scandal? by Tessa Dare


Dead to Me by Mary McCoy

Books I read this week (two weeks!):
The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean

I'm currently reading:
And I Darken by Kiersten White

So that's been my week! I got called for jury duty--and picked for a jury--this week, so I've done almost no reading, as that's allll day. Hopefully today and tomorrow that can change, at least a bit!

Otherwise, the new Harry Potter is out next weekend! I'm working the midnight release, so I doubt there will be a STS post up, unless I'm lucky enough to get around to the post early--though unlikely. 

Have a lovely Sunday and a fabulous week!